Taipei, Feb. 2 (CNA) The Kinmen County government has obtained an annual subsidy of NT$12.6 million (US$376,468) from the central government to station an emergency medical rescue aircraft in the outlying county, Kinmen County Magistrate Chen Fu-hai said Sunday.
The project could save lives by getting patients urgently in need of care to facilities on the island of Taiwan that can provide the necessary treatment. The main health care facility in the county is Kinmen Hospital, which is responsible for providing health care to local residents, travelers to the island and China-based Taiwanese businessmen who travel by ferry between Kinmen and Fujian Province in China.
Given the hospital's status as a mid-level provider of emergency medical services, patients with acute, critical illnesses in need of urgent medical care have to be airlifted to hospitals in Taiwan proper.
At present, private airlines authorized by the Ministry of Health and Welfare are responsible for transferring patients in Kinmen with acute illnesses to Taiwan proper during the day.
If they are unable to carry out such missions at night, the National Airborne Service Corps under the Ministry of the Interior takes over these missions. The 5-6 hours it takes for an airplane in Taiwan proper to fly to Kinmen and get patients back to Taiwan can take too long to help them, so Chen began in September 2015 to seek financial support from the central government for projects to address the critical care issue.
The central government's Offshore Island Development Fund and the Ministry of Health and Welfare decided to allocate NT$12.6 million per year to deploy aircraft for medical transport.
The Kinmen County government said that about 80 Kinmen Hospital patients a year need to be airlifted to Taiwan proper by emergency rescue helicopters, one-third of whom are hospitalized with heart attacks. (By Amy Huang and Evelyn Kao)